What Jobs Can I Get with a Psychology Degree?

An education in psychology can present you with many job opportunities. Besides the all-too-familiar role as a psychologist, there are countless other jobs in education, government, business, mental health and, even, ministry. The main skill that psychology students gain is the ability to understand how the human person thinks, acts and behaves. How they help people with mental health challenges depends on their area of expertise, level of education and experience. Here’s a snapshot of a few jobs you could get with a higher degree (master’s or doctorate) in psychology: Recommended Degree – Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology Market Researcher: To develop an integrated business strategy, a market researcher is responsible for gathering information about target markets or customers. This duty is performed best with knowledge about how people think and behave. A psychology degree also helps them make unbiased conclusions from data and understand the importance of diverse surveying and its impact on results. Human Resource Manager: This role requires someone who is able to work effectively with a diverse group of people, which calls for an understanding of the mind and behavior. Instances of when this degree can be applied is when dealing with an employee with a mental illness, managing reports of sexual assault and instituting collaboration in a work setting. Pastor, Priest or Leader in Ministry: This role consists of helping others in need – mentally and spiritually on a daily basis, which requires them to provide sound counsel to members of their church. Oftentimes these roles become the first in line to help those in need. With a degree in psychology, they learn how to understand and address problems associated with individuals and families on a deeper level.  Consequently, they can address the problems of a diverse group of people and give them support to maintain their relationships, grow, heal and flourish.  Vocational Rehabilitation Provider: This person works with individuals with disabilities, special needs and mental health issues to help them seek employment that is achievable despite a prequalifying condition. Being knowledgeable about psychological problems and learning how to deal with stress will allow this person to aid their clients more efficiently and with great care. Recommended Degree – Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology Psychology Faculty or Professor: To be a proficient educator in this field of study, having a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology will allow you to teach beginners and advanced courses. It will also allow you to teach at colleges and universities with competitive programs. Additionally, this degree (along with experience) will allow you to become a licensed psychologist. Clinical Psychologist: This role consists of providing mental and behavioral health care to individuals and groups, which requires in-depth knowledge and practical clinical training. These skills allow them to address mental health challenges in a variety of settings, including private practice, outpatient clinics, consultation, and with the military. The days of only using a psychology degree in a clinical setting is evolving to help people who work in diverse environments. As a result, more people are able to help combat mental health challenges of their peers, coworkers and employees on a day-to-day basis. Learn more about our psychology programs at Divine Mercy University.

An Interview with the Dean: School of Counseling

Dr. Harvey Payne humbly acknowledges the gift of counsel as God’s use of mankind to help other people heal, grow and develop. As Academic Dean for the School of Counseling at Divine Mercy University, he helps position students to become licensed counselors who later provide therapy for people across the world. “My biggest joy as a counselor is having people contact me after 10 or 12 years since I worked with them and them letting me know how they’re doing and how they’ve continued to grow and flourish” said Dr. Payne. He has practiced as a mental health professional for 30 years in the U.S., Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan. He also has 11 years of academic experience, including years of service as the dean for a college of counseling. In the interview, Dr. Payne detailed his experience in the field and how it molded him into the academic dean for a Catholic-Christian graduate counseling program. Q: How did your experiences as a counselor differ from those as a psychologist? Dr. Payne: The thing that strikes me is how similar the two are. This is because both roles consisted of trying to understand the person that I was sitting with – their views, emotions, thoughts. This would allow me to help them dig deep into the good desires of their heart and figure out how to best flourish in the midst of whatever suffering or difficulty they were experiencing. The big difference for me is that my doctoral degree and training in clinical psychology had a specialization in working with children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disorders and learning how to assess using psychological tests to better understand them and help parents and the school work with them. In 1984, I graduated with a master’s in counseling – similar to our degree at DMU – that really taught me the primary skills of how to sit with people, develop a working relationship, get a basic understanding of people, and use techniques to work with them. After getting my counseling degree, I developed a community counseling center and supervised other counselors. I then realized that I wanted more in-depth training and that moved me to getting my Psy.D. degree in 1990. I later completed my postdoctoral fellowship at a children’s hospital in 1991. Q: How is the curriculum of the Master of Science in Counseling program at Divine Mercy University tied to the Catholic-Christian faith? Dr. Payne: The way we understand people is from our Catholic-Christian Meta-Model of the person, so that’s the lens that we see everyone, which is foundational to all our courses. We emphasize that people are created for the good and that their desire and movement is towards the good – even with pain and disorder. A key  focus in our Catholic-Christian Meta-Model of the person is the deep need for relationships to grow. So when we look at someone who is struggling we don’t look at them as pathological, we try to look at the relationships that they need to heal and develop. Those aspects are woven through all of our courses. Q: Unlike other Master’s in Counseling programs, the one at Divine Mercy University places an emphasis on moral character and spiritual flourishing, crisis and trauma, a systemic model of the person, and addictions. What influenced you to include these counseling principles and why do you think it’s important for students to have this knowledge? Dr. Payne: There is a distinct reason we included each of these principles in our curriculum. Moral character and spiritual flourishing: We believe who the counselor is and how they relate to others is the most critical variable in helping people. So making sure that your own spiritual and moral life is flourishing is vital to help other people. The saying “Transformed people, transform people” is the way we like to think about this relationship dynamic. We also recognize that people, especially those in America, who are religious and spiritually minded is very high.  Researchers report that 96% of individuals living in the United States believe in God; more than 90% pray; 69% are church members; and 43% have attended church, synagogue, or temple within the past 7 days (Princeton Religion Research Center, 2000). With this knowledge, we are able to understand the perspective of people who seek counsel, effectively develop our program and properly train students. Crisis and trauma: We know that there’s a very high rate of trauma (e.g. sexual, physical abuse, natural disaster, domestic violence, etc.) that people go through on a daily basis. Without an understanding of crisis and trauma we would be missing a big component of understanding people. Systemic model of the person: This model is an understanding of people based on their relationships, such as family and friends, and their attachment to others. As social creatures, it is important to know the history of relationships and how they are attached to understand the behaviors of a person. Addictions: As a Catholic-Christian university, we understand that in our faith people work on developing habits of virtue. However some people adopt habits, or addictions, for coping that end up being more harmful than helpful.  So we work to help them flourish with better ways of resolving of handling their struggles. Q: Aside from academics, which qualities make someone a strong candidate for the M.S. in Counseling program at DMU? Dr. Payne: We’re looking for people who have basic interpersonal skills. Also, people who have a heart and passion for other people and feel comfortable working with them. But if the individual doesn’t come in with those skills it is very difficult to develop them. Another thing we look for is grit: the ability to keep plugging even when the going gets tough. This quality is important because the coursework, training and ongoing work will be challenging. So people need to have a sense of perseverance. We also want them to understand that they’re not out there drowning on their own; we’re in the water with them to guide and support them. We also look at a sense of compassion for people, regardless of their situation or state. We’re really looking for students who want to help a wide variety of people. Q: Any advice you’d give to a newly licensed counselor that you wish you knew when you started? Dr. Payne: I’d tell them that it might feel like you have finally arrived and now you don’t legally need supervision, but my advice would be to find a group of like-minded counselors and mental health professionals for clinical, professional and personal support. Counseling is not something that you want to do on your own – especially when you have a challenging case. There will be times when you need to get information and help from other people. Q: How are students able to gain clinical experience from an online program? In other words, how do the online learning platform and three on-site residencies adequately prepare students to become licensed professionals? Dr. Payne: At Divine Mercy University, we use innovative technology and break students up into a triad (counselor, client and observer) in a virtual classroom. We are able to view and videotape students as they participate in “role plays.” While they’re practicing the skills, their instructor virtually enters into the room to observe, give feedback and even provide additional feedback after watching recordings. We also have three on-site residencies where students come to the campus in person. That’s a time of intense hands-on training and meeting students to see how they’re doing. All students also have a year-long practicum and internship in their local area before they can graduate. Q: Lastly, what has been your most fond experience as a counselor or as the dean for the School of Counseling? Dr. Payne: My most fond experience as dean is watching the profound growth and change of students throughout the program – from interviewing them as applicants, seeing them at the residencies and seeing them flourish in this vocation of counseling. I enjoy following the personal, professional and clinical development of our students. Learn more about the Master of Science in Counseling program at Divine Mercy University.

Newman Lecture Series Continues

On Thursday, January 25, George Mason University Professor of Law Helen Alvaré gave a dynamic presentation to students, faculty and local professionals on "Legal Foundations and History of Male/Female in Jurisprudence." The event was a part of the Divine Mercy University’s Newman Lecture Series, which feature speakers who are widely recognized for their contributions to the fields of psychology, moral and political philosophy, theology, and law. The 2017-2018 Newman Lecture series seeks to explore what science and faith have to offer on the equality, difference, and complementarity of man and woman. Watch the recording to hear her take on the influence of science and faith on human equality, difference and complementarity!

Kiwi priest completes U.S. degree by studying online

This is a summary of an article that was originally published in the NZ Catholic. The 2017 Commencement Exercises at Divine Mercy University was a historic occasion for Kiwi priest Fr. Vaughan Leslie. He was the first New Zealander to earn a degree from the university – with a Master of Science in Psychology. Fr. Leslie tips his hat to the cost effectiveness of the program and the ability to learn 100% online while maintaining full-time pastoral work in his parish. “My friends and family would tell you, over the two years of study, I was constantly reading, writing discussion posts, assignments and a thesis,” he said, according to the NZ Catholic. “When I look back, it was so much work, but all necessary and most enjoyable, as is anything that is worthwhile.” His attendance at the ceremony in Washington, D.C., also allowed him to receive a student leadership award that he was nominated for by staff, faculty and student peers. The main reason Fr. Leslie decided to pursue a master’s in psychology was because it would make an impact on the people he worked with. “I had been a prison chaplain for five years, working with serious violent and sexual offenders and many men suffering mental illness. In light of this, I very much felt the need to learn more about human behavior and how positive change can occur for all people in their personal struggles,” he said in his interview with NZ Catholic. He now uses the skills and knowledge gained in the M.S. in Psychology program on a daily basis. Sign up to learn more about the M.S. in Psychology program!
About DMU
Divine Mercy University (DMU) is a Catholic graduate university of psychology and counseling programs. It was founded in 1999 as the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. The university offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology, Master of Science (M.S.) in Counseling, Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology, and Certificate Programs.